IIndia is one of the most religiously and ethnically diverse nations with the oldest culture in the world. Indian culture varies as does its vast geography and is often labeled as an amalgamation of several cultures.
India is the birthplace of many religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Religion has played an extremely important role in the formation of Indian culture.
The diversities, religions and languages present in India never fail to amaze people all over the world. Many foreigners come to visit India and fall in love with the nation. Many of them decide to stay in India for the rest of their lives.
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One of these strangers is William Dalrymple who came to India from Britain. Mesmerized by the architectural, geographic and cultural beauty of India, William chose to live in India. William Dalrymple is the author of numerous travel and popular history books on India.. William has been traveling and living in India for over 30 years and he still feels like he hasn’t covered at least a quarter of the country and remains to be seen. He currently resides in the national capital, Delhi.
Speaking of his first trip to India, William says in his article with National Geographic –
“I never intended to come to India. Originally, I intended to be an archaeologist in the Middle East, but the excavation I was assigned to in Iraq closed, allegedly because of a nest of British spies. So I joined a friend who was leaving for India. I didn’t have a particular connection to the country, but when I arrived it was one of those times in life when everything changes. Thirty years later, I’m still here. A constantly changing kaleidoscope of things has kept me attached, and a whole variety of careers have been made easier by being here. My first job, teaching, took me from the Himalayas to the far south of the country. By the time I made two stops India had revealed itself in all its complexity and beauty – I was hooked.
William thinks he is a changed person now and all because of India. Everything from her appearance to her way of thinking has changed. William came from a Scottish Catholic background and attended monastic schools. His uncle was a priest and later his brother became a priest too.
William witnessed that in India everyone believes in different things and talks about the same thing, he says. “Even within Hinduism, there are a million ways to practice, different gods to worship, and a choice of festivals to watch. India is so vast and diverse that Britain is not for me.
William is convinced that India made him more open-minded than he would have been living in Europe.
“India is a true multiculture – it is massively pluralistic in every way: racially, religiously, climatically, geographically. It is a living lesson against dogmatism.
According to him, Delhi is very underestimated, both inside and outside India. Often times, it’s seen as a difficult place to live, he says.
“For me, as a historian and writer, Delhi is fascinating. It has such a tangible sense of history, with monuments lying around roundabouts, and old town tombs, palaces, and city walls everywhere you turn. The Delhi Archives are also located here – housing a lifetime of documents that have barely been read – and when I need a break from my research, there is a lot going on elsewhere. It has an amazing classical music and dance scene. I never get bored here. In England, on a dreary winter’s day, things can seem pedestrianized. Delhi never feels pedestrianized. We always feel crazy. “
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William relates that there are major monuments and mountain ranges in the Himalayas that he has not yet visited. He believes that India is a continent rather than a country and one could never run out of things to explore here. Speaking of India, he says “Sometimes I feel like a kid in a candy store or a miser in a bank vault. There is an almost infinite amount to assimilate, see and understand.